Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

Like Dr. Frankenstein, the Lovely Bride has created life and today was set aside to honor that. My gift to her was to sleep in until she left for the day. Unfortunately, I couldn't do the same with my the kids and I finally dragged myself to the kitchen for coffee and the newspaper.

"Hey, do I smell bacon?" I asked my oldest.

"Yes. You can't have any. It's not on your approved list of foods."

"Knock it off. Give me some."

"There's none left," he answered smugly. "I made just enough for mom."

Brat. I poured a bowl of the flax and oats he let me buy at the grocery. I wish they made bacon-flavored cereal.

The youngest came upstairs and I asked him to get me the newspaper.

"I have to do everything!" he wailed. "Why can't the middle kid do it?"

"He's not here," I said. "He's at a sleepover."

"See, you do love him more," he said.

"I let him stay away from me, so that proves I love him more?" I asked.

"There, you just admitted it," he said, looking to his oldest brother for support.

As is so often the case, a pointless argument had been ginned up solely to distract me from my original request.

"Go get the damned paper," I told him again.

"Or what?" he asked.

"Or I'll plow under your crops and salt the earth."

"I don't care."

"Or I won't let you golf today."

Sure enough, I got the paper but after paging through the meager and depressing news sections I wondered whether it had been worth the battle. Especially when I asked him to get me a roll of paper towels from the storage room and he responded by wailing, "I have to do everything!"

Before long the middle boy returned from his sleepover and he and his younger brother grabbed their clubs and left for their tee time. With nobody else home except a teenager who can't be bothered to talk to me, I enjoyed the blessed silence, achieved at the relatively small cost of two greens fees.

Most times I'm content to simply lie on the couch, watching television and wallowing in my own filth. Rarely, I get a bee in my bonnet and feel compelled toward productivity. This morning was one of those times and I backed the car out of the garage and started cleaning and rearranging. Our house was built in the days before three-car garages were common. It's a tight fit in there, with two cars, a lawnmower, a snowblower, five bicycles, tools, a variety of political signs, charcoal, air pumps, fishing gear, and gardening supplies. Not to mention seven basketballs, six footballs, two sets of golf clubs, eight soccer balls, thirty-four baseballs, four bats, twelve bases, two hockey sticks, umpire gear, all accumulated in a fruitless effort to buy the love of my children.

After a bit, my oldest took a break from planning Mothers Day dinner to check on me.

"What do you think you're doing?" he asked.


"You're making it worse."

I looked around the garage. He may have been right.

"Will you give me a hand?" I asked him.

"God, you're hopeless."

He came out and got things whipped into shape just as his brothers returned from golfing. Half the things we own were strewn across the front yard and my youngest seized upon an old wagon I'd dragged out for disposal and plopped down in it.

"Look at me, I'm a baby," he said, rocking back and forth and pretending to suck his thumb.

"You're a moron," I said. A passing neighbor stared with puzzlement at the increasingly surreal scene playing out in my front yard.

"Tough acting Tinactin," he said. He's apparently been watching more television than I realized.

"He's got brain worms," I said to nobody in particular.

"He's messed up, that's for sure," said my middle son.

As if to prove the point, the wagon tipped over, dumping the youngest face first in the dirt. "Woo hoo, I win!" he yelled, pumping his fist.

I turned to the oldest. "If I take your brothers down to the park to catch fly balls, will you finish the garage?"

"Yes. Just leave," he said.

By the time I got back a few hours later, the garage was clean and dinner was in progress, a menu prepared to order for the Lovely Bride. The youngest, who'd twisted an ankle, went upstairs to soak in an Epsom Salt bath while the middle one settled down in front of "Saving Private Ryan."

After dinner I slipped twenty bucks to my oldest.

"Thanks," he said, pocketing it.

A small price for making this a good day for his mother.


Brando said...

Money can't buy you love but it sure can buy you peace and quiet.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

hell, snaggy, our house was built in the days before any kind of garage was common.

So, I never have to clean out a garage....

Snag said...

I'll trade love for peace and quiet any day.